5 Ways to Overcome Body Shame
Is body shame keeping you from dating or getting naked with a new partner? In this video, you’ll learn 5 ways to overcome body shame.
So many people have body shame, especially when it comes to getting naked in front of a partner. With all the toxic messaging in our culture that being thin is ideal for women, it’s hard not to feel ashamed of your body’s perceived imperfections. Some of us get those shaming messages that we’re eating too much and getting too chubby as early as five years old. And those external voices become internal voices, no matter what we look like.
Those voices sound like, ‘I hate my body, I need to lose 20 pounds before I date, I need to whip my body into shape, I need to change my body in order to feel attractive.’ And that leads to a spiral of self-loathing that keeps us stuck and single.
Both men and women are susceptible to body shame. But it’s never too late to start overcoming shame about your body and start working toward body acceptance.
Here are 5 ways to overcome body shame.
- Identify the voices in your head. The next time you start criticizing yourself, pause and ask yourself where it’s coming from. Whose voice are you hearing? It could be someone from your life, like a parent or romantic partner, or it could be how you interpreted someone’s words or how they looked at you. When you recognize the source of the voices in your head, you can stop giving it power.
- Practice self-compassion. Replace your shaming voice with a compassionate voice. What kind words can you say to yourself about your body? Find the parts you DO like, and give those parts some love. Also, the next time you say mean things about your thighs, chin, stomach, arms or legs, ask yourself: “Would I ever say that to a friend?” Would you ever go up to another person tell them their stomach is flabby? Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend, and you’ll be amazed at how mean you’ve been to yourself.
- Create a gratitude list for your body. Write down everything you can think of that your body does for you, and thank your body. List everything, from breathing, walking, lifting, and blinking to smiling and hugging. Every time a negative thought about your body comes up, replace it with something from your gratitude list. Over time, this can drastically change your relationship with your body.
- Cancel, cancel. Combat body shaming by saying, ‘cancel, cancel’ to yourself every time those voices come up. If, for example, you’re standing in front of the mirror sucking in your stomach, and thinking how no man will ever want to see you naked, cut that thought off with ‘cancel, cancel’. This is another effective way to stop the shaming.
- Buy clothes that fit. Many people whose weight fluctuates keep clothes of many sizes in their closet, hoping for the day they fit into their smaller clothes again. It can make them feel bad about the body they have now. Instead, donate the clothes that don’t fit, and buy clothes that flatter the body you have now. You’ll feel so much better, and you’ll be living in the present.
When you start to put these steps into practice, you’ll eventually go from body-shame to body-acceptance. And when it comes to dating, you might be surprised that men are so much less critical of our bodies than we are. So, don’t wait until you lose those pounds to date. Lose the negative voices instead, and get out there and start dating. You just might find your last first date!
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